Archive for December, 2013

Head Coach Interviews have begun

December 31, 2013


Posted on December 30, 2013 by Jeff Hartsell

News on The Citadel’s quest to replace Kevin Higgins as football coach has been hard to come by in recent days, but here’s what I can piece together so far:

According to various sources, at least three candidates have interviewed: Lenoir-Rhyne coach Mike Houston, Air Force assistant Clay Hendrix and a third coach, believed to be Brevard coach Paul Hamilton, a former head coach at ETSU and Elon and an assistant at The Citadel, Wofford and Air Force.

That doesn’t mean other coaches have not or won’t be interviewed. Those are just the ones I’ve been told about. Navy assistant coaches Ashley Ingram and Chris Culton also are in the running, according to my reporting and other reports. Navy beat Middle Tennessee, 24-7, in the Armed Forces Bowl on Monday in Texas, so I doubt either of those two have been able to interview at The Citadel yet.

One report said that Navy OC Ivin Jasper is set to interview at Georgia Southern after the Middies’ bowl game; I’d expect something similar for the two Navy assistants at The Citadel. (BTW, Georgia OC Mike Bobo also has reportedly interviewed at GSU).

Published reports also have former Delaware coach KC Keeler on The Citadel’s list to interview. One coach I respect (and who knows The Citadel well) said he’d be “shocked” if Keeler made The Citadel’s top three. I can only agree. Keeler had success at Delaware, but did it with a no-huddle spread attack featuring transfer QBs like Joe Flacco. That’s not a road The Citadel can do down, IMO.

Also Monday, two websites reported that Citadel safeties coach John Hauser will take a job at Miami of Ohio.

In case you missed it last week, former Citadel coach Charlie Taaffe has ruled out a return to the Bulldogs; and ex-Citadel player and assistant Everette Sands has indicated he’s happy to stay at South Carolina for now. He told Channel 4′s Scott Eisberg down in Florida that he had “no direct contact” from The Citadel about the job.

Other coaches with Citadel ties such as Craig Candeto and Kenny Carter apparently are not high on the search committee’s list as of now. Citadel AD Larry Leckonby has said he’d like a coach in place by the first week of January. The Bulldogs could have a coach by the weekend, I think.


Chris McGuiness traded by Rangers to Pirates

December 30, 2013
Chris McGuiness is now a Pittsburg Pirate

Chris McGuiness is now a Pittsburg Pirate

Jeff Hartsell,
Posted: Monday, December 30, 2013 3:52 p.m.

Former Citadel standout Chris McGuiness was traded by the Texas Rangers to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday.

McGuiness, who played in 10 MLB games for the Rangers last season, was aquired by the Pirates in exchange for for right-handed pitcher Miles Mikolas. The Rangers had designated McGuiness for assisgment to make room for free-agent outfielder Shin-Soo Choo.

“Chris provides us with another option at first base and allows us to remain patient as we continue to explore the first base market,” Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said told the Pittsburg Tribune-Review. “We like the offensive production potential as well as his ability to handle himself around the base.” According to the Tribune-Review, the Pirates have been in a search for a left-handed complement to first baseman Gaby Sanchez.

In 10 games with the Rangers last season, McGuiness batted .176 with one RBI. He hit .246 with 11 home runs and 63 RBI in 104 games at Class AAA Round Rock last season. A native of James Island, McGuiness was picked in the 13th round of the 2009 MLB draft by the Red Sox, then traded to the Rangers as part of a deal for catcher Jared Saltalamacchia.

McGuiness, 25, spent spring training iin 2013 with the Indians after Cleveland chose him in the Rule 5 draft. But Cleveland returned him to Texas after he failed to make its 40-man roster. In five years in the minors, McGuiness has batted .257 with 62 home runs and 275 RBI. Mikolas spent most of 2013 at Triple-A Tucson, going 4-2 with 26 saves and a 3.25 ERA in 54 games. He was designated for assignment by the Padres in November, then traded to Pittsburgh.

Basketball loses again, plus new name in Football search

December 30, 2013


First off, we got our rear end beat by 24 points at home as Willis Hall led four College of Charleston players in double figures with 18 points as the Cougars downed The Citadel 72-48 on Sunday afternoon at McAlister Field House. Hall also made an impact on the glass for CofC, pulling down 13 rebounds to complete the seventh double-double of his career and first against the Bulldogs. That is all that needs to be said about that game and OBTW, we probably will not win another game this season.

In the football coaching search one website is reporting that Army offensive coordinator Ian Shields may have entered the picture at The Citadel. Shields has spent several years on the West Point staff and is still listed as offensive coordinator on new Black Knight Coach Jeff Monken’s staff. Coach Shields may be a great coach but why hire an offensive coordinator from a team that cannot post a winning record? I do not believe it was always the defense causing Army to lose…….

The same site is reporting that Navy offensive coordinator Ivin Jasper (who seemed to be on our early list) will interview for the Georgia Southern head coaching job after the Armed Forces Bowl. Coach Jasper is an option guy and GaSo wants to stick with the option.

One final note on candidates. Please remember that Everette Sands took his name out of contention saying “the time is not right” for him to leave South Carolina for The Citadel. I know folks don’t want to hear it but in many people’s opinion, Coach Sands may be in line for an Offensive Coordinator job at the BCS level. A position like that would pay him twice as much as he would make at El Cid. If he did come to El Cid and won, which we all think he would do, he would be gone to a larger school with a larger budget. We only pay our head football coach in the 200 to 230K range, which is position coach money at the BCS schools.

Word has it that interviews are occurring this week and we may have a coach by this time next week. Let’s just hope that Mr. Leckonby does a better job with the football job than he did with basketball when Coach Conroy left for Tulane.

Finally, Andre Roberts made a circus catch for a touchdown in the Cardinal’s game yesterday. If you missed it, see it here:

Citadel could be down to final five for football coach

December 28, 2013


by Jeff Hartsell, The Charleston Post and Courier
Posted on Friday, December 27, 2013 7:08 p.m

The website reported Friday that former Delaware coach K.C. Keeler is among five coaches The Citadel has asked to interview. Keeler joins a list including Navy assistants Ashley Ingram and Chris Culton, Air Force assistant Clay Hendrix and Lenoir-Rhyne head coach Mike Houston, all previously reported by The Post and Courier to be on the Bulldogs’ short list.

The Citadel is searching for a successor to ex-coach Kevin Higgins, who resigned after nine seasons last week to become assistant head coach at Wake Forest. Bulldogs athletic director Larry Leckonby has said he would like to have a coach in place in the first week of January.

Three of the five are assistants with experience at military schools; the other two have been head coaches but have not worked at a military school.Here’s a look at the five prospective coaches:

K.C. Keeler, 54, was head coach at Delaware from 2002-12, compiling a record of 86-52 with three FCS championship game appearances. The Blue Hens won the title in 2003 with a record of 15-1.
In 2008, Keeler signed a 10-year contract extension that would have kept him at Delaware through 2017. But he was fired after a 5-6 record in 2012 and worked last season for NFL Films and for Keeler often brought in transfer quarterbacks to run his offense, including Ravens QB Joe Flacco, who transferred to Delaware from Pitt.

Ashley Ingram, 40, is in his sixth season at Navy, where he coaches centers and guards. He was a finalist for the head coaching job at Austin Peay last spring, leading to a promotion to running game coordinator at Navy. The native of Iron City, Ga., is a 1996 graduate of North Alabama and also has coached at Rhode Island and Bucknell.

Chris Culton, 36, is in his 11th season at Navy, where he coaches the offensive line after previously coaching fullbacks in the Midshipmen’s option offense. He graduated in 2001 from Georgia Southern, where he was a student-assistant for four years after suffering a neck injury as a freshman football player. He’s also coached at Rhode Island. Navy’s team is in Fort Worth, Texas, preparing to play Middle Tennessee State on Monday in the Armed Forces Bowl.

Clay Hendrix, 50, is in his seventh season at Air Force, where he is associate head coach, offensive coordinator and offensive line coach. He’s a 1986 Furman grad and coached 19 years for the Paladins, helping Furman to six Southern Conference titles and the 1988 national title. The native of Commerce, Ga., also coached at North Carolina State.

Mike Houston, 42, just finished his third season as head coach at Division II Lenoir-Rhyne, leading the Bears to a 13-2 record and an appearance in the national championship game. The 1994 Mars Hill graduate has been named South Atlantic Conference coach of the year twice, and has a record of 29-8 in three years at Lenoir-Rhyne. He was defensive coordinator at Lenoir-Rhyne for four years and also coached on the college level at Brevard. A year ago, Lenoir-Rhyne extended his contract through the 2016 season.

Leckonby also has said he would interview an internal candidate, thought to be offensive line coach/offensive coordinator Bob Bodine. Earlier this week, former Citadel coach Charlie Taaffe, 63 and the offensive coordinator at Central Florida, ruled out a return to the Bulldogs.

Citadel AD: “Candidates down to workable list”; no Taaffe

December 27, 2013

Posted by Jeff Hartsell on

Citadel athletic director Larry Leckonby met with the school’s search committee Monday, and said the committee succeeded in trimming a pool of 50-plus candidates to a “workable list.”
“It’s up to me now to follow up on that list, and I think everyone of them has the potential to be The Citadel’s next head coach,” said Leckonby, who must find a replacement for Kevin Higgins, who left a week ago to be an assistant coach at Wake Forest.

Leckonby said he’s yet to meet with any candidates “face to face. But I’ve talked to more coaches on the phone than I ever knew I knew,” he said. Leckonby did not identify any candidates on the “workable list.” He did say that there is one internal candidate who “wants to be the head coach, and I will interview him.”

When Higgins announced his departure, some players tweeted support for slotbacks coach Bill Mottola. But sources indicate the internal candidate is likely OC and line coach Bob Bodine.

The general consensus among Citadel sources is that Navy offensive coordinator Ivin Jasper, Navy running game coordinator Ashley Ingram, Air Force OC Clay Hendrix and Lenoir-Rhyne coach Mike Houston are among those on the “workable list.” Messages to the Lenoir-Rhyne athletic director were not returned Monday.

Meanwhile, the specter of Charlie Taaffe looms over The Citadel search. The former Bulldogs coach is the offensive coordinator at Central Florida, which plays in the BCS Tostitos Bowl on Jan. 1. I have not talked to Charlie myself; he has not returned my calls or texts. But from talking with various sources, I believe his interest in a return to The Citadel has cooled, and that The Citadel might be ready to move on to other candidates. This is just my opinion and read of the situation. (Taaffe confirmed Tuesday he is out of the running.”

Leckonby’s committee includes: Les Robinson, John Darby, Charlie Baker, John Carlisle, Glenn Addison, Michael Flintom, Phillip Florence, Chip Taylor and Cal McCombs, though Cal was not at Monday’s meeting.

Leckonby said he still has no real timetable for hiring a new coach. He confirmed that he met with the coaching staff last Friday and sees no need to name an interim coach. “They are all on board with the recruiting process and have been able to move forward with that,” he said. “They just came off the road from three weeks of home visits. I think we are in pretty good shape with what they accomplished.”

Leckonby also said he did not see a potential job search at Georgia Southern having a major impact on The Citadel’s search. GSU coach Jeff Monken has reportedly been offered the job at Army, though he’s yet to officially accept.

“The unique nature of The Citadel sets us apart, the military aspect of it,” Leckonby said. “There any number of option coaches who could be a fit for Georgia Southern if that’s the way they choose to go. But I’m comfortable with the number of folks in our pool who have ties to The Citadel or to a military school.” To me, that sounds like option coach/military school experience is the way The Citadel is leaning.

The Greening of The Citadel for the New Year

December 23, 2013
The Citadel in 1924

The Citadel in 1924

Article & photo courtesy of The Citadel

CHARLESTON, S.C. — The Citadel continues to focus on reducing the college’s energy consumption with a strategic plan that has positioned the school ahead of state requirements going into 2014.
The Citadel was among a group of six South Carolina agencies and school districts recognized in 2013 for reaching a significant milestone: reducing energy consumption by at least 20 percent − years ahead of the 2020 deadline. The recognition came from the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation (EHTF), which supports the SC Energy Office’s efforts to track and assist with the energy reduction goals of state agencies, including public colleges, based on 2000 usage levels.
Major projects contributing to The Citadel’s energy reduction efforts to date have included:
• $4.76 million performance contract with Ameresco, which replaced lighting, steam traps, Deas Hall (dormitory) chiller (a large air conditioner which produces cold water rather than cold air), and Bond Hall Annex windows
• Continued expansion of Energy Management System (EMS) – a graphical interface for the energy control system on campus
• Implementation of 4-day work weeks in summer
• Installation of energy efficient chillers and other equipment upon failure
Future energy reduction projects will include:
• Further expansion of EMS
• Installation of variable frequency drives in buildings such as Summerall Chapel, Deas Hall and Mark Clark Hall – a motor controller which adjusts the frequency of the electricity going to a motor based on demand
• Installation of LED lighting where appropriate
• Utilizing new Event Management System to better schedule heating, air conditioning and lighting
• Solar hot water for Deas Hall
“We are pleased with the energy reductions we have made so far at The Citadel,” said Col. Tom Philipkosky, USAF (Retired), vice president for operations for The Citadel. “Many of the iconic buildings on our campus were constructed prior to the 1950’s, making our future efforts even more challenging – and necessary.”
The six schools or agencies honored by EHTF and the SC Energy Office in 2013 included: The Citadel, Sumter School District, USC Columbia, Spartanburg Community College, The Military Department and SC ETV. The EHTF funds innovative projects that advance solutions to basic and enduring problems in the fields of arts, environment and learning disabilities.
The South Carolina Energy Efficiency Act (Section 48‐52‐620, Code of Laws of South Carolina) requires all state agencies, school districts and public colleges and universities to develop energy conservation plans to reduce their energy consumption by one percent annually during fiscal years 2009‐2013 and by a total of 20 percent by 2020, as compared to 2000 levels. The Act also requires the South Carolina Energy Office (SCEO) to verify progress made by public entities toward reducing their energy intensity (defined as total site energy consumption per gross square foot).

#43 headed to Medal of Honor Bowl

December 23, 2013
Brandon McCladdie

Brandon McCladdie

Name: Brandon McCladdie
School: The Citadel
Position: Cornerback. YEAR: Senior.

Height: 6-1. WEIGHT: 200.

McCalddie is committed to play in the Medal of Honor Bowl. He was fourth on the Bulldogs’ defense with 58 tackles, including 1.5 for loss. He tied for the team lead with two interceptions, and took one of them back 92 yards for a touchdown against Wofford. He broke up a team-best eight passes and defended a team-best 10, and both recovered and forced a fumble. He was named all-Southern Conference this season and finished his career with eight interceptions.
Quote: “Brandon projects well as a late-round draft pick. He’s above average in both pass coverage and run support. The Medal of Honor Bowl provides him with the perfect opportunity to showcase his skills against Division I receivers.” – Brian Woods, Medal of Honor Bowl executive director.
Other cornerbacks committed to Medal of Honor Bowl: Travis Carrie, Ohio; Brian Dixon, Northwest Missouri; Devin Wallace, Virginia Union.

Dog’s fall to ‘Huskers

December 23, 2013
Ashton Moore

Ashton Moore

Bulldogs now 4-9 on the season

Lincoln, Neb. – Terran Petteway netted a game-high 27 points and was responsible for seven points during a crucial 15-5 second half Nebraska run as the Huskers earned a hard fought 77-62 victory over The Citadel at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Saturday evening.

Knotted at 32-32 entering the second half of play, The Citadel (4-9) used four points each by the trio of Tom Koopman, Ashton Moore and Brian White to make for a 51-51 tie at the 10:58 mark of the half. That quickly turned into a four-point Huskers (8-3) advantage behind a Petteway dunk and a pair of Leslee Smith free throws. Moore answered with a 3-pointer for the Bulldogs, cutting the margin to 55-54 with 9:53 remaining, but it was buckets by Deverell Biggs, Petteway and a fall away 3-pointer by Shavon Shields that provided Nebraska an eight-point advantage just over two minutes later.

The Huskers forced two turnovers and held the Bulldogs scoreless during a 4:16 stretch as they extended their lead to 66-56 behind a pair of Petteway free throws. Moore ended The Citadel’s drought with a jumper at the 3:48 mark, followed by four free throws off the hand of Marshall Harris III, but it was not enough as Nebraska earned their fourth win in the all-time series by a 15-point margin.

Petteway was joined in double figures by Shields (17 points) and Leslee Smith (10). Smith also pulled down a game-high 10 rebounds to post the second double-double of his career. Collectively the Huskers hit 25-of-48 (52.1%) from the field and knocked down 22-of-34 (64.7%) at the charity stripe.
Nebraska held a 36-16 edge in points in the paint and capitalized on 17 Citadel miscues to finish with a 22-13 advantage in points off turnovers. Moore, who capped off the game with 21 points on 8-of-16 shooting from the field, notched his second 20-point game of the season and fourth of his career. Teammates Brian White and Matt Van Scyoc also reached double figures with 11 points apiece.
White climbed the glass for seven rebounds, edging Moore and Van Scyoc who each finished with six each, for team-high honors. The Citadel finished 23-of-54 (42.6%) from the floor and 10-of-14 (71.4%) at the free throw line. The Bulldogs out-rebounded the Huskers 34-30 to finish with an 11-10 edge in second chance points.

Moore proved to be the key cog in The Citadel’s first half offense, knocking down 4-of-6 from the field and 1-of-3 from the free throw line to close with 10 points. It is the first time since a Dec. 4, 2012 meeting with Charleston Southern that Moore reached double figures by the intermission. Moore highlighted a Bulldog unit that was 13-of-26 (50%) from the floor and 4-of-11 (36.4%) from beyond the arc. He was joined in scoring by the combination of Van Scyoc (eight points) and White (seven).

The two teams were not only knotted in scoring, but they were also evenly split in total rebounds (16-16) and separated by just four in points in the paint (12-8), where Nebraska held a slight advantage. The Citadel countered an 8-5 Nebraska run with an 8-5 run of its own behind four outside jumpers by Moore, White, Koopman and Van Scyoc to deadlock the game at 13-all with just over 11:23 left in the frame.

Dylen Setzekorn allowed The Citadel to regain the lead exactly one minute later, but Nebraska scored five of the next eight points to assume a 20-18 advantage with 7:16 remaining. Moore drained his first 3-pointer of the contest at the 5:45 mark to give the Bulldogs a 21-20 lead and following a steal by Harris and a Moore layup in transition the margin stood at three. Six unanswered points by White and Van Scyoc gave The Citadel its largest lead of the half, 29-21, with 3:28 remaining. Nebraska closed the half on an 11-3 run, allowing only a Raemond Robinson trey during the stretch, to send the two teams into the intermission tied at 32-32.

The Citadel will have an eight-day layoff before hosting College of Charleston on Dec. 29 at 2:05 p.m.

Ex-Citadel assistant Paul Hamilton throws hat in Bulldogs’ ring

December 21, 2013
Paul Hamilton

Paul Hamilton

By Jeff Hartsell
Posted online Friday, December 20, 2013 4:41 p.m.
Published The Greenville News 12/21/13

Former Citadel assistant coach Paul Hamilton has told his bosses at Brevard College that he wants to be next football coach at The Citadel. Hamilton, who has been head coach at Division II Brevard for seven years, notified the Brevard administration this week that he would pursue the job at The Citadel, left vacant Monday when Kevin Higgins left for Wake Forest.

Meanwhile, sources indicate that Citadel athletic director Larry Leckonby has decided to hire a coach who can build on the triple-option offense Higgins installed four years ago, and hopes to have a new coach in place in the first week of January. That would enable the Bulldogs to perhaps get in a couple of recruiting weekends before the Feb. 6 national signing day.

Hamilton, 55, is a Charleston native who has been head coach at two other Southern Conference schools, East Tennessee State and Elon. He helped Wofford coach Mike Ayers install the triple-option offense as an assistant there, and was an assistant under Fisher DeBerry at Air Force from 1990-96.
DeBerry, now retired, is one of the former coaches serving on an unofficial “advisory committee” for Leckonby.

At East Tennessee State, Hamilton had a record of 38-41, with four winning records in seven seasons. At Elon, he was 6-14 in two seasons. His best success came as a quarterbacks coach at Air Force, where he coached Beau Morgan. In 1994-95, Morgan became the only Division quarterback at the time to twice rush for 1,000 yards and throw for 1,000 yards in the same season. In the three seasons Hamilton served as QB coach and play-caller, the Falcons finished second in the nation in rushing three times. An Appalachian State graduate, Hamilton was an assistant coach at The Citadel in 1981.

In other coaching search notes:
. North Carolina A&T offensive coordinator Rickey Bustle told WCIV-TV he’s also interested in The Citadel job. Bustle, a Summerville native and Clemson grad, was head coach at Louisana-Lafayette and offensive coordinator at Virginia Tech and South Carolina.
. Lenoir-Rhyne coach Mike Houston, another target of Citadel speculation, leads his 13-1 team against Northwest Missouri State for the Division II national championship at noon Saturday on ESPN2.

Navy assistant: “I’d be a great fit” at Citadel

December 20, 2013
Chris Culton

Chris Culton

posted December 19, 2013 by Jeff Hartsell

Here’s the latest I’ve been able to scrape up on the search to replace Citadel football coach Kevin Higgins. Citadel athletic director Larry Leckonby is set to meet with the coaching staff Friday to update them on the situation.

– I did make contact with Navy OL coach Chris Culton, whose name has been bandied about. He said, “It’s an honor to be mentioned for such a prestigious job as The Citadel. If they are looking for a candidate with five years of Southern Conference experience along with 11 years of Service Academy experience I would be a great fit.” Culton is a Georgia Southern grad and coached there and at Rhode Island before going to Navy.

– As regards Charlie Taaffe, the news Wednesday that Army had sought permission to speak to Georgia Southern coach Jeff Monken was followed by word Thursday that Army will interview Tampa Bay Bucs OC Mike Sullivan. It seems clear that despite early reports that Taaffe was a candidate at Army, he’s not top of the list. If the 63-year-old Taaffe wants to move on from Central Florida, where he’s offensive coordinator, to be a head coach again, a return to The Citadel seems the best option. There is a groundswell of support from Citadel boosters and Taaffe’s former players, which include names like Jack Douglas. Question is, how do Citadel brass feel about him?

– Some Citadel fans have wondered about Lenoir-Rhyne coach Mike Houston, who runs a version of the option and has led L-R to a 14-1 record and the D-II national title game. You can watch Lenoir-Rhyne take on Northwest Missouri State for the title at noon Saturday on ESPN2.

– Some Citadel fans have also contacted me in support of Brevard coach Paul Hamilton, a Charleston native and former Citadel assistant. Hamilton was head coach at ETSU and Elon in the SoCon, helped install the option at Wofford and had a very successful run as QB coach and play caller at Air Force from 1990-96. He worked at Air Force for Fisher DeBerry, who I’m told is one of the coaches on Citadel AD Leckonby’s unofficial “advisory committee.” By the way, Hamilton’s daughter just married former Citadel pitching great Asher Wojciechowski.